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North dakota

Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Meet Deb

Workforce Challenge

Deb first became aware of a problem with her eyes in 1978. At that time, an optometrist told her to quit her job and receive disability to which she thought, “I am not going to do that!” In 1990, her other eye began to fail. She went to an optometrist and an ophthalmologist in North Dakota. Uncertain as to the cause, they referred her to the University of Minnesota.

“Once I got back from Minnesota, I immediately spoke with my boss. I did not want to lose my job and I asked him, ‘What can I do to keep my job?’ He told me to go to Vocational Rehabilitation and they could help me. I was shocked. I was thinking of everything else he would possibly say. I never thought of this. I worked with the VR counselors, so I should have known that services they provide. I didn’t have a clue that they could help me.”

Workforce Solution

VR assisted Deb with magnifying glasses, a CCTV, a large screen computer monitor, larger keys on the computer keyboard, and the larger number buttons on the telephone. They also showed her how valuable orange puffed paint can be. She placed it on objects around the house such as the temperature knob on the oven at 350 degrees. Deb now has two sets of glasses and is quite adept at using catalogs to order additional assistive technology devices she may need.

Outcomes & Benefits

“VR helped me maintain my employment. After the doctor told me to just quit my job and go on disability, I was concerned as to whether or not I could keep working. I wanted to, but I didn’t know how I could until my boss referred me to VR.”

“People need to know there is help out there. If I, a person who worked with VR counselors, didn’t know how VR could help me, how would anyone else? Education and awareness are the keys.”

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